Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Batch 8000

Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Galesburg, MI

Style: Belgian Strong Ale

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

And the search continues …

That’s right, boys and girls, your intrepid (or maybe just trepid, I dunno) beer explorer is still on the prowl, looking for the best Belgian-style trippels and strong golden ales the Midwest has to offer. My search has led me to one of Larry Bell’s takes on the subject, not his seasonal Sparkling Ale, but the eponymous celebratory offering Batch 8000.

To stack the cards in Larry’s favor, I poured Batch Numero … uh … Ocho … Millennio into a fluted Triple Karmeliet glass to bring out everything this beer has to offer. The brew has a orange-gold hue and a bumpy (not rocky) white head of just over a finger in depth. The central area of the head fizzed away after a minute or so, but an outer ridge lodged against the sides of the glass for the duration of the drink. The nose sported a mix of bready malt and Belgian spiciness, with a tiny dash of hops. That breadiness stands out front on the palate, a dry sweetness with only a fraction of the spiciness from the nose. There’s some orangey citrus in there, too, which has become almost like a trademark of Bell’s brews—Oberon and Two Hearted, to wit—and here it plays so close to real oranges that there’s a tiny zap of acidity in there to boot. Add in a crisp hop snap to the end, and you have a very, very short, dry finish, leaving you wondering where the Hell the rest of your sip went. In fact, the finish is too short—the malt and spices get snipped off so fast you don’t get a chance to savor them.

Toeing the authentic Belgian line, Batch Eight Grand is bottle conditioned—quite a bit of yeasty sediment coated the bottom of the bottle, but very little made it into the glass. Just an example of how finely crafted a beer this actually is, despite a comparatively lackluster flavor profile. If my standards weren’t so high when it comes to Belgian styles, this’d be up there in the four-mug zone. I am going to recommend it, but it can’t crack that glass ceiling.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on January 30, 2008.
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